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Berkeley’s online calendar wins UC’s top technology award
Innovative portal, the product of a combined student/staff effort, puts hundreds of campus events at your fingertips

| 27 August 2008

All that glitters
The Berkeleyan was honored by CASE this year with the national silver medal in the category Periodical Staff Writing for Internal Audiences. CASE also honored the campus calendar network and University Relations during this award cycle.

The University of California last month recognized the UC Berkeley Calendar Network and its developers with the Larry L. Sautter Golden Award for Innovation in Information Technology, which cites the top technology projects from among all of the 10 UC campuses. UCSF’s Epilepsy Phenome Genome Project and the UC Office of the President’s multi-campus effort-reporting system also were awarded Sautter golds.

Since its debut in December 2006, Berkeley’s calendar network has spread across the campus like an irrepressible idea, today connecting the online calendars of 55 colleges, schools, departments, and units. The network, which published more than 3,500 campus events in its first year, provides one of the most comprehensive listings of events published by any university.


The online calendar’s Critic’s Choice feature highlights upcoming campus events of special interest or importance.
 

Before the calendar network was launched, the Berkeley campus sponsored a wealth of daily events but had no comprehensive means of letting people know about them. The network lets campus units choose to share event information with other campus calendars, while allowing each unit to customize and control its calendar’s content, features, and look and feel. Through the sharing and publication of campus events, the application takes down the wall between departments, fosters interdisciplinary interaction, and spreads the word about events among the campus and wider community.

The calendar network was developed through a collaboration among the Office of Public Affairs, which manages the calendar and its development, Information Services & Technology, and graduate students at what is now the School of Information. Principal developers of the network were Public Affairs’ Jeffery Kahn, project leader; Allison Bloodworth, whose efforts spanned graduate work at the iSchool and a term with IST, and who now works in Educational Technology Services; Public Affairs’ Sara Leavitt, whose development work brought the application from its embryonic stage to maturity and who continues to initiate campus units into the network; and Jon Conhaim of IST, who championed and guided the project throughout.

In the Sautter award application, Kahn wrote: “Sensible people — those who are aware of the decentralized and cussedly independent culture of university campuses — would never have contemplated this project. If our campus were a corporation, it would have been easy: You build a ‘one size fits all’ application and mandate its use. Here at Berkeley, the only way something like this would fly was to create a centralized network system that was totally decentralized, and would let every department and unit within the network have everything its own way. Impossible? At the least, insanely challenging.”

Kahn said the team focused on the contribution that sharing events could make in connecting people and projects across accademic disciplines and in opening the doors of UC Berkeley’s rich calendar of events to the public.

The calendar network continues to grow, and additional functions and features continue to be added. This month, the application was provided to UC Merced, which is beginning its effort to roll out the calendar network there.

UC Berkeley units interested in joining the network should contact Sara Leavitt (saral@berkeley.edu) for information and assistance.

For details about UC’s Sautter Award, visit www.ucop.edu/irc/itlc/sautter/welcome.html.